Saturday, June 30, 2012

Can Aesthetics

It has been interesting listening to reactions to the cans.  Some people believed that the resulting objects were not yet finished - not forged enough.

Is it an aesthetic problem?  A problem of 'finishing', completing a work to the point of a satisfying form?  This did disturb me for a while because I thought that maybe my work was not up to scratch, though I think that maybe it is an aesthetic judgement.

I like the disturbance that they cause. The need to complete a piece with the eye.  I will use it, complete some pieces, not others.

The visibility of the original can, did that disturb?  Could it be a problem seeing the utilitarian portion of the object - the can - the junk left behind from cooking?  It could be an abject, detritus nature - the junk of the can.  By leaving that much of the old can could it be like leaving under arm hair - offensive to the senses?

Or is it just not showing enough of my skill as a silversmith?

Monday, June 4, 2012

The History of the Can

I have found a document on line that gives a fairly detailed history of the can.  The invention of the can is interesting and begins with the Napoleonic Wars and an offer of money to whoever invented a way of preserving food for transport.  Nicholas Appert won this money by preserving food in glass jars.  A tin-plated iron can was invented by Peter Durand in 1810.
This image is taken from the website.  It is of women working in an oyster cannery in the 1870s.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The transformation or reformation of domestic cans into activated objects will be thoroughly documented, catalogued and recorded as an investigation into the potency of objects.  Through this project I will question the notion that society has become dissociated from the objects that it uses and that human intervention has an ability to recharge the qualities of the materials used.
I will forge - using a hammer and fire to stretch metal - steel cans to the point of disintegration in order to change the character of the industrially made steel can. The cylindrical form of a can is very hand friendly though impersonal, used as a commodity or a necessity, for practical reasons rendering the substance used to make it unimportant.  This has the potential to create a loss of knowledge and respect for the material that is used.  Forging the cans will reveal the attributes of steel, an alloy of iron and carbon, produced for its malleability and strength.
With every new can I will begin a process of documentation:
  • what the can was bought for. 
  • the date, company etc on the label from when it was packed; 
  • photographing the can’s existing form and the transformation process; 
  • can’s pre-existence, manufacture, cost etc; 
  • the sound of the hammering; 
  • writing about the process - my thoughts about - reactions of the body as it used to form the new object; 
  • filming the processes; 
  • collect the residue eg paper labels, scale from the forging etc;
  • calculating the cost of the transformation in time and consumables etc;